Rip Hamilton rebukes use of middleman

Pistons coach John Kuester's attempt at reaching out to guard Richard Hamilton went unheeded this weekend.

With good reason, according to Hamilton.

Hamilton, a key part of trade talks that were called off Wednesday, said the coach's inclination to involve the team's head of security, Jerry Hendon, didn't help things.

"I felt offended that he sent Jerry instead of coming himself or sending an assistant coach," Hamilton told the Detroit Free Press on Sunday. "I could tell Jerry was uncomfortable and I said no."

Benched for seven straight games, Hamilton hasn't discussed the matter with Kuester.
Hamilton says he's heard from veterans around the league who have offered their support, including Shaquille O'Neal and Ray Allen of Boston, Rudy Gay of Memphis and the Suns' Vince Carter.

On Saturday, before the Pistons' 75-74 victory over visiting Phoenix, the coach attempted to breach the lack of communication. But Hamilton rebuffed Kuester's unconventional tact.

Hamilton said that shortly before a team meeting Saturday, Hendon had approached him to tell him Kuester wanted to talk, the Free Press reported. Kuester also told reporters he had tried to connect with Hamilton, though he didn't offer specifics.

"We made overtures and one of the things that's important is he is somebody that's on our team now," Kuester said before Saturday's game, according to the Detroit newspaper. "We know that and we've reached out to him."

Hamilton was the Pistons' piece of a three-team, multiplayer scenario that would've sent him, Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony and point guard Chauncey Billups to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for a package of players and first-round draft picks.

But Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov nixed the deal Wednesday night, and Hamilton has continued to sit.

Kuester repeatedly has said that he hasn't been playing Hamilton because he's just been looking to change the rotation. Hamilton last played Jan. 10.

But the franchise is up for sale and dealing Hamilton as part of the proposed Nuggets-Nets trade would have resulted in a savings of more than $17 million for Detroit (16-28).